DEFORMITIES FROM BIRTH
Some people are born with disease or deformity. Some are born without arms: others are born with poor brains. Some may be born with weak eyes, or a delicate digestive system, or some other kind of difficulty or deformity.
If this occurs through inheritance, a person has these troubles because his father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, or some other ancestor had this same kind of trouble, and the illness is passed down from them. When this is true, it happens when the male and female sex cells first come together to begin a new life, and the difficulty or deformity is thus present from the very beginning of that person’s life.
It is possible for deformities to occur also from a sickness of the mother while an infant is in her womb. The first three months of pregnancy when the baby is first developing is the time that this is most likely to happen. German measles and other viral diseases have been shown to cause blindness, ear defects, and heart deformities in this way. These diseases, then, are diseases of the mother, but if they occur while the baby is first developing in the womb, they can cause the development of the baby to be imperfect.
USE OF DRUGS BY MOTHERS
The use of some drugs can also hat in the unborn baby. In Europe recently then were many infant deformities (mostly of the arms and legs) caused by the use of a certain type of sleeping tablet by pregnant mothers. The use of unnecessary drugs by anyone, especially by a pregnant mother, should be avoided.
Because the mother’s and the baby’s blood are separate, very few infections are able to pass directly from the mother to the baby in the womb. Syphilis is the only common example of an infection that can be passed directly from the mother to the baby in the womb.
INJURY DURING PREGNANCY
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It is possible for an infant to be injured or to receive an infection while it is being born. Blindness of the baby can be caused from gonorrhea acquired in passing through the mother’s birth canal. Tetanus, as well as other infections, is also quite common in newborn babies if a dirty knife is used to cut the cord, or if dirt is put on the cord after it has been cut. Another serious difficulty is injury to the brain of an infant—this can occur if a baby does not breathe well soon after it is born.
Epilepsy and other nervous diseases sometimes occur in infants who do not breathe well right at the beginning. The most common cause of this type of injury is interference with the delivery by a poorly trained midwife, or by some other uneducated person.
The diseases or deformities a person is born with are difficult, if not impossible, to correct. The majority of them can be prevented if the mother is properly taken care of during pregnancy and delivery.